It’s not everyday you see the richest man in the world replying to an email troll, leave alone make it public. But Jeff Bezos is here to set the record straight.
In a way that’s arguably uncharacteristic of the Amazon head, he made public an incriminating email sent to him by an individual along with his own response to it. The bone of contention is Amazon’s very public support to the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the wave of anti-racism movements across the USA following the death of George Lloyd. Hundreds of American companies have issued their statements on the issue, confirming their support to the Black Lives Matter movement and endorsing their commitment to inclusion and diversity.
Amazon was one of the first major American companies to issue a public statement and take a stand on the issue. “the inequitable and brutal treatment of Black People in our country must stop. Together we stand in solidarity with the Black Community – our employees, customers, partners in the fight against against racism and injustice”, the company had tweeted on May 31st. Amazon had followed on its statement with an announcement to commit a donation of $10mn to the cause.
The Amazon website too went on to carry a black header headlined “Black Lives Matter.” For a company as big as Amazon to have taken a stand across its properties is bold. However not everyone was as impressed. Amazon’s stand came with its share of critics and detractors. The emailer in question contested that Amazon’s support to Black Lives Matter belittled its support to other communities. “I’m for voicing their opinions and standing up for what you believe in but for your company to blast this on the website is very offensive to me and I’m sure you’ll be hearing from the others. ALL lives matter.”, the emailer said.
“Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean other lives don’t matter. Black Lives Matter speaks to racism and the disproportionate risk that black people face in our law enforcement and justice system. I have a 20 year old son and I simply don’t worry that he might be choked to death while being detained one day. Black parents can’t say the same.” Bezos shared the reply to this email on his Instagram, reinstating his belief in the cause.
Bezos went on to state that despite all the hatred he’d been receiving, his stance won’t change. This wasn’t the only email Bezos shared. Another email from a ‘Dave’ who called Bezos “the perfect ass hole” was met with a perfect takedown. The customer lashed out at the Amazon CEO in a wildly abusive email, for taking an anti-racism stand, and threatened to stop using Amazon. “There have been a number of sickening but not surprising responses in my inbox since my last post. This sort of hate shouldn’t be allowed to hide in the shadows. It’s important to make it visible. This is just one example of the problem.” Bezos said, sharing the screengrab of Dave’s email.
“And, Dave, you’re the kind of customer I’m happy to lose.” came the kicker.
The Amazon CEO isn’t particularly known to be effusive, he barely gives out public speeches, his last tweet was in Feb, and the high-profile honcho keeps a famously low profile on social media. But seeing Bezos take a bold stand against an issue dividing his home country, and then stand behind it, even if it means naming and shaming his detractors, cements Amazon’s commitment to the cause. Perhaps, it also serves as a great lesson to business heads on how to use their massive personal platforms to be in sync with the voice of the company they head.